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  • Writer's pictureIlene Lefland

Most Improved but Miles to Go

Most Improved but Miles to Go

By Ilene Lefland, CFA board member

Those of us in CT who do advocacy work on behalf of animals recently got a shot in the arm when the state was recognized by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) for making the greatest strides of any state in the nation last year in enacting animal protection laws. CT jumped from number 31 to number 11 — a huge leap over 20 other states!

ADLF is a respected national nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system. Its U.S. Animal Laws Ranking Report compares the overall strength and comprehensiveness of each state’s animal protection laws based on 20 different categories of animal protection.

In the report, ALDF Senior Staff Attorney Kathleen Wood said: “While CT has been a pioneer in animal law, being the first state to enact a courtroom animal advocate program in 2016, the state still had significant gaps in its laws addressing animal cruelty. In 2023 CT took several major steps forward in ensuring that animals have the protections they need and deserve.”

If you recall last session, we animal advocates had our hands full, continually shifting gears to lobby for or against several bills ranging from proposed rabbit farming and bear hunting to banning the use of second-generation rodenticides and greyhound racing. While many pieces of legislation did not make it to the floor of the House and Senate for a vote, one critical piece of legislation did: An Act Concerning Cruelty to Animals.

ALDF credits passage of that law for the great headway in CT’s animal protection laws. This single comprehensive bill strengthened the penalties against sexual assault of animals, prohibits those convicted of animal cruelty from possessing an animal for five years, and requires veterinarians to report suspected cases of animal cruelty.

After several years with little progress in our efforts to make life better for CT animals, it’s gratifying not only to see our work yield results in our state but also recognized at the national level. 2023 was an unpredictable but productive year for advocates. This achievement just goes to show what speaking up for animals can do!

Although we've begun to move the needle, there's still much more to do to achieve our mission of mobilizing our supporters to further the welfare and protection of animals through legislative action.

Ilene Lefland is a board member of CT for Animals Education Fund.


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